Could Shenzhen International Airport overtake Hong Kong International Airport as Shenzhen becomes more relevant in the next 10-20+ years?
SZIA was developed to raise the international profile of the city with a $1.4 bn facade - the gorgeous terminal 3. Still despite its name, most traffic in SZIA goes towards the mainland.
International traffic is funnelled through HKIA where travellers can reach the city by bus or taxi. There is even a direct boat departing from HKIA terminal so you don’t have to enter Hong Kong anymore.
HKIA is reaching maximum capacity but plans for the extension are already there and building will start soon. The other big international airport in the region that competes with HKIA is not in Shenzhen, it is Baiyun in Guangzhou.
Actually, the answer to this question is not so much about airports but about the internationalisation of the cities themselves. Hong Kong could stay more international than Shenzhen for a long time, while the existence of Guangzhou in the delta will contain Shenzhen’s influence towards the inner land.
For now, Shenzhen still this weird metropolis where global connectivity take the form of small cross-border black buses or containers shipment. How it will carve its own centrality in global networks remains to be seen.
This text was originally published in quora.